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Alumni and Friends

News from - and for - our friends

The Department of Theater is fortunate to have friends in many places in all walks of life. Catch up with them here. And if their news inspires you, perhaps you can send us an update, too!

Current Events— Study abroad in South Africa this summer!

SIgn up now for an amazing study abroad opportunity led by Department of Theater Professors Megan Lewis and Judyie Al-Bilali. For more information, read the flyer below or visit theatreinafrica.weebly.com.

We have two information sessions planned for students who are interested in going and would like to know more:

Tuesday October 8th from 4:00-5:00 in the Greenroom, Department of Theater, Fine Arts Center
Wednesday October 30th from 11:00-12:00, Bartlett, Room 207




2013 Graduation photos

Congratulations to our newly-minted alumni! We are so proud of you — we can't wait to see what you all do next.

class of 2013



Shed the Shag Fashion Show and Silent Auction

When: April 20 at 5 p.m.
Where: The Fine Arts Center Atrium
Suggested donation: $10 for students, $40 for the general public
Bring: Your checkbook, so you can bid in our silent auction

Join the glitterati of the UMass Amherst Department of Theater for a special style event! Clear your calendars on April 20 for a once-in-a-lifetime Shed the Shag Fashion Show and Silent Auction.

When the construction workers tore out our old carpeting and seat covers during the Rand Theater renovation last summer, the members of our costume shop got a collective gleam in their eyes. Next thing we knew, the scissors were snipping, the fabric swatches were flying and nearly 2 dozen members of the faculty and staff — as well as some special guests — had been conscripted as models for a fashion show that will showcase the orange shag and velour in all their questionable glory! If you've ever marveled at the 1970s design of the Rand Theater, you'll be amazed at the talent of our costume shop staff and students — their creations will blow your mind!

This event is a fundraiser for our efforts to upgrade the Rand Lobby, hence our suggested donation admission fee. In addition, we hope that you can spare a few dollars more to participate in the Silent Auction that will kick off that evening. Everything modeled during the fashion show, from small acessories to elaborate gowns, will be up for bid. We'll even offer an opportunity to Buy It Now on select items.

If you can't attend but want in on the auction, watch our website, where we'll continue the auction after the April 20 kick-off.

(And a quick plug for the other wonderful things going on here: Since you're going to be in the building anyway, make plans to see a performances of Casanova by Connie Congdon '82G, at 2 and 8 p.m. in the Rand Theater. You can also check out our graduate students' collection of devised theater pieces offering their takes on Social Media, performing that evening at 7 in Room 204. It's FREE.)


Study-abroad opportunities available through theater

The Department of Theater offers two opportunities to experience theater internationally over the summer. One course, which has been going for some time, will take participants to Edinburgh to that city's world-famous Fringe Festival (More at http://www.2000plays.com/). The other, which is brand-new this year, will introduce students to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa (Course info here).


Guest artists to add to our curriculum this year

Every year, the Department of Theater strives to augment its curriculum of classes and productions by giving students the opportunity to interact with other performing arts organizations. This year, we are fortunate to welcome one such company to our own theater and classroom spaces, and we are thankful to the Fine Arts Center for bringing several organizations to campus for our students to learn from. In addition, one group will offer the Rand Lecture, which isfree and open to the general public.

This October, our undergraduate students will have a chance to participate in a workshop with the Accademia dell'Arte's stateside representative of the Accademia, Kali Quinn, who teaches mask and clown in the MFA program at Trinity in Providence. She will work with selected students, with observers welcomed, in a workshop funded by the Department of Theater.

magnet theatre

Then, this winter, the department is pleased to present South Africa's Magnet Theatre, performing Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking.

The play, Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking, traces the story of a young refugee in Africa who loses family and home brutally and irrevocably and is forced to journey to a new place through many dangers and uncertainties. (Read more on our season page.)

In addition to presenting this incredible work, the company will present a number of workshops in the Five College area. Members of the company will speak at Smith, Hampshire, and Amherst Colleges, speak to classes in the Department of Theater as well as Music and Dance, and work with students.

In addition, members of the company will join Professor Megan Lewis for the annual Rand Lecture in the Rand Theater at 4 p.m. on January 29. The Rand Lecture is free and open to the public.

Also coming to see us is Bill Sapsis of Sapsis Rigging Inc. He is heading a workshop for students and rigging professionals across New England in our theater.

The Fine Arts Center is bringing a number of intriguing guests to campus. The Department of Theater is contributing funds to bring these artists across the hall so that our students can interact with them in workshops and talks.

They are, as follows:

The Builders Association: HOUSE/DIVIDED — Members of the company will come to several classes in October during their time on campus, including Theater 100 as well as advanced performance and design classes, to speak with students. They will offer a master workshop for performance students, and an open rehearsal accessible to Department of Theater members.

KIDD PIVOT: The Tempest Replica — Kidd Pivot, which comes to campus in November and will offer our members of our Gen Ed Theater 100 course an opportunity to talk with artists from the company. Our advanced lighting design students will have an opportunity to ask artists questions in a small seminar setting.

Upright Citizens Brigade — In connection with the performance at the Fine Arts Center in February, members of this renowned improvisation troupe will lead a workshop for our students.


Photo call: Photos from Graduation 2012

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Photos from graduation

The 2011-2012 Year in Review

Click here to download a report about productions, achievements and more from the 2011-2012 schoolyear, as well as a look ahead to next year. (in PDF)


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